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What Canada's Cannabis Activists Hope To See In Trudeau's First Throne Speech

Canada's cannabis activists and advocates are anticipating today's throne speech - the formal address to Parliament from Justin Trudeau's new government that outlines its agenda. The speech could be the first in Canadian history to address the legalization of recreational marijuana, which Trudeau has promised to do as part of his government's first mandate. Here's what some activists and advocates told Civilized they hope to hear from the government today and in the near future.

1. An end to cannabis raids

Craig Jones, executive director, NORML Canada: "We are looking for some instruction in the speech from the throne to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. Something that says that they are terminating prosecutions of cannabis users, possessors, traffickers, etc...preferably [right away]. And something that will add some teeth to their commitment and the seriousness of their intentions going forward."

2. A schedule for legalization

Kirk Tosouw, lawyer and advocate, Tousaw Law: "Ideally, the Prime Minister will set out a clear timeline for ending cannabis prohibition, and at least some basic parameters of what the legal system will look like. In addition, though I don't expect this, in light of recent police action against medical cannabis dispensaries, I would love to see a moratorium on arrests and prosecutions announced."

3. Dropping cannabis from the drug act

Lisa Campbell, Toronto chair of Women Grow: "I'm hoping that Trudeau will strike cannabis from the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act so that we can put an end to the raids on medical marijuana dispensaries. I'm also hoping that Trudeau will put a timeline on marijuana legalization, as many entrepreneurs are in the dark as to what legalization will look like."

4. A reprieve for prohibition's prisoners

Alexander Betsos, personnel liaison for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy: "I am hoping that we see two immediate changes from the Liberal government. I would hope to see the Liberal government push to decriminalize cannabis within 100 days of the throne speech, and immediately begin the process of freeing people in prison who are there for nonviolent cannabis-related drug offenses."

5. Affordable cannabis and the right to grow

Fabian Henry, founder of Marijuana for Trauma: "I believe he is going to legalize cannabis. I think it's going to be stronger than the Colorado model when he does legalize. It's time to get rid of prohibition and the 1937 Reefer Madness mentality. Patients should someday have the right to grow cannabis themselves. Coverage for veterans only covers costs for certain conditions. Civilians have zero coverage. If someone is taking cannabis for cancer, the price is often out of reach. There is no drug plan or health insurance for them. If they could grow a few plants at home, then they would have better access to medicine, and they wouldn't have to worry about chemicals."

6. Less talk, more action

Dana Larsen, founder of Sensible BC: "We're looking for action on this issue and not endless talking. With dispensaries being raided in B.C., with arrests at an all-time high across Canada, we're calling on Trudeau to decriminalize as soon as possible - to stop arrests for possession, trafficking and growing. We want Trudeau at least to do what Mulcair promised he would do and decriminalize cannabis immediately."

h/t The Georgia Straight, The Globe and Mail
Banner Image: Flickr/Robert Linsdell


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